New flagship phones from both Samsung and HTC offer enhanced battery saving modes that allow the battery on the Galaxy S5 or HTC One (M8) to last for hours with a charge of just a few percent remaining. But what if you don’t have either of these great new smartphones? There are plenty of common sense ways to extend your Android phone’s battery life — plenty of tips can be taken from this guide, for example — but a new tool that capitalizes on Android’s open nature will push battery conservation to the next level for many users.
Created by an XDA Forum member named ProjectZed, a new tweak called Auto Pilot Mode adds functionality to Android devices that seems like common sense in hindsight. In a nut shell, the app automatically enables airplane mode when cellular signal cuts out, thus saving tons of battery life by preventing phones from constantly searching for signal.
“Auto Pilot Mode is a very lightweight tool to enable airplane mode,” the app’s creator wrote on the XDA Forum. “Battery [is] rapidly drained when the phone is out of service/signal and [is trying] to search for a signal to use. In order to prevent this battery drain, Auto Pilot Mode will detect when the signal is below a certain threshold. Once this threshold is met, airplane mode will be turned on for a specified amount of time. After this time, airplane mode is disabled and the checking process repeats.”
The tweak can also be configured to leave Wi-Fi on when it disables cellular connectivity, so your data won’t be cut out if you’re within range of a Wi-Fi network.
Now for the bad news: in order to work on devices with Android 4.2 and newer versions of Google’s mobile OS, Auto Pilot Mode needs your Android phone to be rooted. Rooting is easy enough these days, though it should be noted that enabling root access will void the warranty on your phone.
Phones running Android 2.3.3 through Android 4.1 will not need root access.